Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine

Polish Absurd

Too make a long story short, a bunch of Polish spies (or Military Counter Intelligence agents) on duty in Afghanistan put photographs of themselves with their full names on a popular website here called “nasza-klasa” (our class). It’s a school reunion site where old boys, schoolmates, Taliban fighters and so on meet up to see how their old buddies have aged, got fat, got married, tried to occupy one’s country and so forth.

Prompted by this, I decided to devote this one to absurdities of Polish life. Like for instance, the requirement that in order to sit a driving test you must have done a course in a driving school. If you fail you have to do a supplemental course in a driving school. Guess where the examiners are recruited from? Well from the driving schools, of course. What matters is not that you can drive but that your driving school papers are in order.

Here’s a direct quote from Jarosław Kaczyński of PiS: “I am against a referendum because it would certainly produce unambiguous [jednoznaczne] results… I think that referendums should be held in those countries where public opinion is against [the Lisbon Constitution]. The people should not be cheated. The decent thing would be to have referendums in England [sic], France and Holland.” (Nasz Dziennik, March 12th, reprinted in Nie). On second thoughts, I’m not sure that is so absurd. He’s only saying what all the Eurocrats think: no referendums because people might vote for the “wrong” thing. When Ireland rejected the Nice referendum, the exercise was simply repeated until the people voted yes.

Nie also tells of the following happy situation in the administration of public health service in Poland: the NFZ (roughly equivalent to the UK’s NHS) draws up reports on abuses in the health services (overcharging the state in various ways) but the organ that is empowered to do anything about the abuses doesn’t get the reports because the NFZ is not obliged to hand them over, which it doesn’t want to do because if it did it (i.e. the NFZ) would get less money from the state to provide health services. Clear? Of course not.

I commented before on Konrad Niklewicz’s bizarre ideas about who should sponsor the debate on GMOs – i.e. the companies that stand to earn most from their introduction, not scientists, the state or, God help us all, opponents. And here a week or two later is the same Niklewicz writing about how lobbyists rule in Brussels. One example is the “Competitivness [sic] in Biotechnology Advisory Group,” of which the dismayed Niklewicz writes: “It does not have a single non-governmental organization representative; it has six scientists and twenty business representatives” (Gazeta Wyborcza March 28th). This article is shoved back to page 30, the business section, unlike the same author’s clarion call for business to lead the debate on GMO, which was on page 2.

Another curiosity of Polish law: it is possible to libel the dead. Roman Giertych has to publish an apology to the family of Jacek Kuroń for remarks he made in 2006. (Kuroń died in 2004.) I’d take Kuroń’s side against Giertych any time, living or dead, but in my innocence I really did think that dead people had no say in the matter.

When Minister for Justice Ziobro left office he had to return some of the gimcracks our rulers are given to help them oppress us. Specifically, something like three mobile phones and a laptop computer. Ziobro, a man of impeccable morals, obviously had nothing to hide and the damage evident in the returned laptop was purely from wear and tear. He was a hard man, Ziobro. The laptop is on the road to recovery of data now, though. The unencrypted data shows that he was writing the scripts for the State TV news service. On second thoughts, I’ll put that in the passive voice: scripts for the State TV news service were written on his laptop. The encrypted stuff will be denuded and demasked in the next week or two.

It’s no wonder the present government is doing nothing.

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